A nurse who accepted a prank phone call during Kate Middleton's stay in the hospital this week has been found dead.
The nurse -- identified by King Edward VII's Hospital in London as Jacintha Saldanha -- was found unconscious Friday morning and could not be revived by emergency personnel. Saldanha was pronounced dead at a residence building or nurses near the hospital and police were treating the death as unexplained, but not suspicious.
Multiple British media reports said Saldanha was a nurse who initially accepted the call from two Australian DJs who were pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, but not the nurse who later provided details to the radio personalities about Kate Middleton's condition.
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A statement on Saldanha's death was issued on behalf of Prince William and Kate. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."
The company that employs the Australian DJs that staged the prank, Southern Cross Media Group, also issued an official statement and revealed that the two radio personalities would not be returning to their show in the wake of the tragedy. "Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world," the statement said.
"Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances," the statement added. "SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."
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The hospital -- which had apologized earlier this week for being duped by the hoax phone call -- expressed "deep sadness" at the news and called Saldanha "an excellent and well-respected nurse" who was popular with her colleagues.
"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to
the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this
difficult time," the statement said. "This is a tragic event. Jacintha
was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients
during her time with us. She will be greatly missed."
The royal palace announced on Monday that Kate Middleton was pregnant and was being treated in the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, a more severe form of the nausea and vomiting that normally accompanies the early stages of pregnancy. She was released from the hospital on Thursday.
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